After lending his talents to the Marvel Cinematic Universe by directing The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon made the jump to DC Extended Universe by writing new scenes for Justice League and overseeing the movie's post-production and reshoots after Zack Snyder departed. But before that happened, Whedon was already set to write and direct a Batgirl movie, but he has just announced that he's leaving that project due to story troubles. The creative mind said in a statement:
Batgirl is such an exciting project, and Warners/DC such collaborative and supportive partners, that it took me months to realize I really didn't have a story. I'm grateful to Geoff [Johns] and Toby [Emmerich] and everyone who was so welcoming when I arrived, and so understanding when I... uh, is there a sexier word for 'failed'?
Joss Whedon announced his exit from Batgirl to THR, saying that while he was eager to work on Barabra Gordon's standalone adventure, ultimately he just wasn't able to come up with a compelling tale. It was announced in March 2017 that Whedon was working on Batgirl, but after nearly a full year, he was unable to "crack the code" of what a Batgirl movie should be. Another issue that reportedly popped up was the possible public scrutiny that might have emerged from Whedon, a white man, overseeing Batgirl given the character's "feminist importance," similar to what likely would have happened if a white director had helmed Black Panther. Last June also saw the release of the Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman, which was met with critical acclaim and became a cultural phenomenon. With Batgirl being one of DC's most popular superheroines, Warner Bros undoubtedly wants her upcoming movie to be handled as properly as possible.
After Justice League's release last November, it was rumored that Warner Bros had let Joss Whedon go from Batgirl following the fifth DCEU movie's underwhelming critical and commercial performance. That rumor was later debunked, but months later, now we know for certain that Whedon's time with Batgirl is over. Aside from Whedon's Batgirl movie supposedly being inspired by Gail Simone's New 52 Batgirl comic book run as a "starting point," few details emerged about the project's development. It's unclear if despite no longer working on Batgirl, Whedon will still be considered for other DC movies, but given his extensive body of work, I suspect he won't have trouble finding a new creative endeavor.
It was reported earlier this week that Batgirl is one of the DC movies that will likely be immediately released after Wonder Woman 2, but with Joss Whedon's departure, we'll have to wait and see if that remains the plan or if Warner Bros and DC will delay it so that there's more time to find a new creative mind to bring it to life. Batgirl was last seen in a live action theatrical setting being played by Alicia Silverstone in 1997's Batman & Robin, while Rosario Dawson voiced the character for last year's The LEGO Batman Movie.